University Edinburgh, 15-16 May 2008
Most debates on citizenship centre on the nation state. Yet citizenship in the European Union also includes the European dimension granting citizens of a Member State a set of rights similar to those of citizens when residing in another Member State. At the same time, third country nationals have been granted social and/or political rights at the provincial or the communal level in a number of Member States, thus narrowing the gap between citizens and foreigners on the sub-state level. Furthermore, several Member States of the EU have strengthened intermediate levels of government in the last twenty years by either installing regional parliaments and devolution of competences to regional authorities (e.g. United Kingdom, Spain, Belgium) or by setting up new regional administrative structures (e.g. France, Slovenia, Greece). The focus on the nation-state, which is prevalent in most citizenship literature, does not reflect the function and role of this status in the emerging structures of multi-level governance.
The idea of the workshop is to explore the relationship between the sub-state, the nation-state and the supra-state level from two perspectives – the institutional aspects of membership in a multi-level governance structure and the actor-centred aspect of political mobilisation and agency in a multiple governance system. Specific attention shall be given to the substate dimension of transnational political practices. Indeed, while research has developed (especially with regards to questions of development) on the immigrants' transnational practices in the region, town or village of origin, the political consequences of such practices are still a neglected topic (particularly in Europe). Most studies have also focused on local political participation in immigration contexts, but have neglected substate levels of citizenship and political agency in countries of origin. This conference will therefore put a specific emphasis on transnational local citizenship.